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Tensions Rise as China Condemns Taiwan Vice President’s Trip to the United States

Taiwan Vice President William Lai made a quick trip to the United States on Sunday. China denounced the trip, calling Lai a separatist and “troublemaker through and through,” and vowed to take serious measures to defend its sovereignty. This drew criticism from Taipei.

Lai, who is expected to win the January presidential election for Taiwan, arrived in New York late on Saturday for what is considered to be a transit before continuing on to Paraguay for the country’s president’s inauguration.

Lai’s journey, which includes a second stop in San Francisco on his way back to Taipei on Wednesday, has drawn criticism from China, which claims democratically controlled Taiwan as its own territory.

China policymaking in Taiwan The Mainland Affairs Council asserted that China was the actual troublemaker, citing, among other things, its ongoing military harassment of Taiwan and its standoff last month with the Philippines in the South China Sea.

 Lai, who has previously defined himself as a “practical worker for Taiwan independence,” is particularly despised by Beijing despite his repeated claims on the campaign trail that he is not looking to alter the status quo and that only the people of Taiwan have the power to determine their future.

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Overseas Diplomacy

Taiwan Vice President William Lai made a quick trip to the United States on Sunday.

Lai will attend receptions with overseas Taiwanese during the layover in New York, according to a person familiar with the trip’s planning, and he will give a speech.

Lai is scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on Wednesday on his way home, and Laura Rosenberger, chair of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), a U.S. government-run nonprofit that manages unofficial contacts with Taiwan, said she will see him there.

According to Taiwanese officials, China is likely to start military exercises this week close to Taiwan with the goal of intimidating voters ahead of an election next year and instilling a “fear war” in them through Lai’s U.S. stopovers.

The People’s Liberation Army of China’s Eastern Theatre Command, which is in charge of the region bordering Taiwan, published a brief video of fighter jets conducting dogfights on its WeChat account on Sunday.

The transits of Lai occur as Beijing and Washington work to mend fences.

This includes the potential for Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to visit the United States, which might open the door for President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet this year.

For the past three years, China has increased its military activity in the vicinity of Taiwan in an effort to compel the island to recognize Beijing’s sovereignty.

When Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen met U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in California during a layover on her way back to Taipei after a trip to Central America in April, China retaliated angrily by staging war simulations surrounding Taiwan.

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Source: Reuters

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